Among the workshops offered was a legislative update presented by Joan Woodward, executive vice president of public policy for Travelers and head of the Travelers Institute.
The federal budget deficit is most troubling and the only way to get rid of it is to grow gross domestic product (GDP), she said. Tax loophole closures will raise revenue, she noted. The Cash for Clunkers program resulted in $3 billion worth of new car sales and boosted consumer confidence - but was it worth $8 billion in federal funds? The home buyer tax credit, which also increased consumer confidence and had a more sustainable effect, may have been a better use of federal dollars, she said. Other Woodward comments: The new consumer financial protection agency is the largest regulatory change to the U.S. financial system since the Great Depression. The $940 billion health care reform bill is not politically popular because it is still being regulated by 50 states. Cap and trade passed the house and will cost $740 billion.